SpaceX's Crew Dragon capsule on Friday returned home from its historic six-day test flight.
NASA officials confirmed around 2:30 am ET that the capsule successfully detached from the space station. Crew Dragon continued to whirl through orbit and burned its thrusters four times to make a carefully choreographed, gradual descent. The final burn lasted about 15 minutes and helped the vehicle safely slice back through the Earth's thick atmosphere while still traveling thousands of miles per hour.
As the capsule came back to Earth, it deployed a couple of parachutes to brake its speed. A plume of four large, additional parachutes slowed the capsule's drift through the air and it splash down in the Atlantic Ocean around 8:45 am ET.
A recovery ship, called Go Searcher, waited at sea to use a large crane to haul the capsule out of the water. The ship is also equipped with medical quarters and a helicopter pad so that, when crew is involved, it's ready for emergencies.
The capsule launched atop a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket early Saturday morning. It was carrying about 400 pounds of supplies for the ISS and a space-suited dummy named Ripley, which is "fitted with sensors around the head, neck and spine to record everything an astronaut would experience throughout the mission."
Also aboard Crew Dragon was a "zero-g indicator," or a plush globe otherwise known as Little Earth, that was put on board to demonstrate when Crew Dragon entered microgravity. The toy made appearances in several photos with the astronauts aboard the ISS while they completed routine tasks this week.
Little Earth and the new supplies stayed on the space station, while Ripley and about 300 pounds of return cargo, including a broken spacesuit part, headed back home on Crew Dragon.